THE FALLING OUT – Sea of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

“The wind on the sea is coming from the northwest. It will be a hard pull to Capernaum. The sails will not help us. My brother, Andrew, knows these waters, he and Simon will help your men row.” Peter gestured for the women to come closer. “Our boat is full. May these women take passage with you under your protection? This is Mary of Magdala and her cousin Elizabeth.”

“Of course, they can ride with us.”

“Many thanks. Come, we must go. It will be a hard pull in this wind.”

They have been rowing against the wind for two hours. Cornelius relieved Simon on the oar and already his arms felt rubbery after half an hour of pulling. Cornelius peered toward the shore that they came from, though it was still three hours until sunrise, he could still make out distinctive markings of the beach and the hills behind it. He determined that they were less than two miles from the same eastern shore. The north shore, on the other hand, cannot be seen, so that means the wind had been pushing them south. Cestus and Simon were exhausted and resting in the stern. The women, Jacob and Trax were huddled together low at the bow trying to stay out of the wind and spray. As Cornelius looked around, he could just make out the other boat some twenty yards from them. Seeing that he and the others needed rest, he stood up and called out to the other boat. He signaled them to come closer so that they will not be separated. After a while both boats were tied together.

“We are all exhausted,” he spoke to Peter. “Let us rest for about an hour.”

“Yes, I agree. This northwesterly wind seems to be picking up even more. I fear we may have to ride this wind to the south and hopefully we could use the sails in the morning.”

But then about half an hour later, the wind and the choppy water calmed down around them. For Cornelius, it was uncanny. He could hear the wind howling above him but all he can feel is a slight breeze. He could tell that the inland sea was choppy but the boats felt like they were riding on gentle rollers. Peter roused the men to man the oars and take advantage of the lull. They were about to untie the boats from each other, when one of the other women in Peter’s boat screamed out in fear. Cornelius looked over to see what is the matter. Some of the disciples started to point toward the east shore. As he looked, he could not see a thing. Then from behind a high rolling wave, he could just make out something glowing. At first, he thought it was something floating in the water but then it was upright and heading towards them.

As it came closer, Cornelius could feel the hairs on the back of his neck standing, as he looked at what can only be a glowing apparition walking slowly on the surface of the water. Nothing in all his experience prepared him for this. He stood there frozen as both men and women called out in fear.

Then the apparition spoke in a quiet voice, “Do not be afraid! It is I.”

No more did Cornelius see a ghost but Jesus himself calmly and casually walking on the rolling waves. Cornelius burst out in joyous laughter at this incredible sight.

Peter called out, “Master, if it is you, command me to walk on the water to you.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Come!”

Then Peter, with no hesitation, jump out of the boat but instead of going under both his feet landed like as if it were on solid ground. Jesus was about ten yards out. Incredibly, Peter was walking towards him on the water. He was about half way there when spray from a breaking wave touched his face. He started to frantically look around in panic at the rough sea and wind. Then, like someone falling through a thin layer of ice, Peter plunged into the churning sea yelling to be saved. Jesus quickly pulled him out and steadied him as he was standing again on the water. He and a grateful soaking wet Peter climbed back into the boat.

Jesus then said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Jesus calmed the sea. The winds have blown both boats so far south that Jesus allowed them to row to a beach in the vicinity of one of the Decapolis cities named Hippos.

The story continues on in my next post.

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Johann Q

Sketching Ireland #2

Hitting the Road on an Indian


indian-teardrop-w.jpgWell, here we (my wife & I) are in Dublin (vicariously, of course). We’re ready to hit the road and get out of the city. Now… since, this is a fantasy vacation, I’m going to imagine a set of wheels that I have always wanted to ride in a cross country adventure, an Indian Motorcycle. Before I get any hate mail from any Harley-Davidson lovers, let me say that I would love to ride a ‘Hog’. But it was a toss up between a Harley and an Indian. My wife was the one that flipped the coin and the Indian won out. Now, my road trip fantasy is not complete without a teardrop camper fully rigged with solar panels, compact air-conditioner, kitchen galley and state of the art satellite internet retractable dish (so, we can watch Netflix and Youtube. LOL). Keep in mind, that I’m also pretending to have loads of cash.

road-map-2.jpgSo, now we have to head out of Dublin based on the tour itinerary map that I chose to follow. From Dublin, we go inland and south on the M9 Highway to the city of Kilkenny. Along the highways out of the city, the sights that I can see were mostly business and industrial parks. I figured that the residence communities were far from the noises of heavy traffic. Anyway, for Irish highways, they seem typical to highways in my own country. They’re four lanes; 2 lanes going back to Dublin and 2 going south. After spending a longwhile on these highways using the Google Street View mode, I’m making a little change on the ground rules I set for myself on my first post. To keep me from going crazy, I’m allowing myself to kinda hover above the highways and roads… giving me birds eye view. By the time we got unto the M9, the environ changed more to country settings.


Hovering over the highway gave me an opportunity to see the interesting names of towns and villages left and right of M9; villages with names like Kilgowan, Kilcullen, Narraghmore, and Crookstown. Now, in Google Earth & Maps, if there was a notable attraction, a symbolic icon would be visible when you hover. One such marker picqued my curiousity in the village of Ballytore. The village itself was nice, clean but somewhat modern. If it wasn’t for the Google marker, I probably would head back to M9.

Using Street View mode, I drove down Ballitore Hill Road then turned unto a narrow track called Abbyfield Lane. The lane started out paved and ran behind some newly built white track houses and businesses. Then, we hit a dirt road and to my delight, on the right side of the lane, I saw an old rock wall fencing what I conclude is an overgrown field and a ruin of… what looked like the entry of an even older stone church. Passing that, a broken down abandoned stone house jutted out slightly unto the gravel lane. I almost wanted to stop and sketch it but thank goodness I didn’t. We duck our heads (vicariously, of course) due to low hanging foliage, turned a bend, and finally came upon the target structure that was marked on the map.


It was the old Ballitore Mill. Though the structure was old, there was still a good roof on it with intact windows and a solid door. I believe it was still in operation (unconfirmed) and probably electrical. One time, the mill was driven by a water wheel. If you look at the right side of my sketch, it looks like a stream used to be dammed up behind the mill then flow down unto where the water wheel would have been. To add to my drawing, I included an old style millstone.



For my next sketch subject, I found another attraction marker across the M9 not too far from Ballytore. It’s the Burtown House, The Green Barn and Gardens. The Burtown House is an early Georgian villa surrounded by beautiful gardens, parkland walks and farmland. It is said that, ‘A visit to Burtown is one of the most rewarding days out to be found anywhere in Ireland’. Visitors are encouraged to wander the extensive gardens as well as appreciating numerous modern sculptures dotting around around the parkland. After which they can enjoy a hearty lunch at The Green Barn.


The Green Barn, located just inside the front gates of Burtown House, is both restaurant and art gallery. It is based on old style Scandinavian barns with a New England twist, combining high ceilings, rustic textures, individual table settings, and specially designed pottery, linen and cutlery. restaurant believes in serving honest, unfussy, unpretentious food, letting the organic produce be the strength in what you eat. Seasonal ingredients are used, combining seasonal ingredients, using flavours, textures, and colours, experimenting all the time, hence offering changing menu’s that reflect what is happening in the garden.

The Green Barn’s interior spaces are rustic and contemporary, with an amazing view of the kitchen garden. Normally with different art exhibitions, large photos from the acclaimed Vanishing Ireland books, as well as sculptures from Zimbabwe and by Irish artists, with French and Dutch antiques. There is also an ever expanding array of interiors accessories, food products, books, prints and every changing objects de art.

For my sketch of the Green Barn, I chose the entrance mainly because the dog’s head is turned the same way as the logo’s fox is looking.

Funny though, for a tourist attraction, I did not see any roadside advertising billboards. Except from online, I wonder how motorists can even know about them.

For my next post, I’m temporarily going off the track (so to speak) and go east to the mountains. See ya all then.

[note: promotional contents of Burtown House, The Green Barn and Gardens are from various internet sites]

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Sketching Ireland #1

Starting Point – DublinIreland-Itinerary-Map-1100x1039.jpg

Summer in the Philippines starts after Holy Week. And this summer, I decided that I am going to IRELAND… known as the Emerald Isle… the land of the leprechauns, the shamrock, and good ol’ Saint Patrick. Oh okay, I exaggerate. I’m actually taking a vicarious tour of Ireland by Google Earth and I’ll be following a particular road trip map with the starting point at Dublin. My goal is to SKETCH from the Neck Up through Ireland.

Now, I’m putting some ground rules on myself. Since this tour is a road trip, I’ll only be exploring highways and roads that have Street View function. Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides me with interactive panoramic views. I thank the Lord for Google equipping thousands of dedicated people with specialized 360 degree cameras which they mounted on all sorts of vehicles and they roamed every highway, roads, streets, to even hiking trails all over the world. This blog is going to be both a Sketching Journal and Travel Emag.

Since this is my ‘vicarious’ vacation, I’m entering Dublin by ferry from England. Now, my plan is to start at Dublin, circumvent Ireland clockwise then end back again at Dublin. I don’t want to spend too much time there in beginning. I’ll do that on the return trip. So, as a start up, I’ll explore the center of the city at the St. Stephen’s Garden (aka St Stephen’s Green).

St Stephen’s Green is Dublin’s centre public park. At 22 acres (89,000 sqm), it is the largest of the parks in Dublin’s main Georgian garden squares. I roamed all around the park and chose 2 sketch subject.


The first subject is the Fusiliers’ Arch monument which forms part of the Grafton Street entrance to the park. Erected in 1907, it was dedicated to the officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought and died in the Second Boer War (1899–1902). The main structure of the arch is granite, with the inscriptions carried out in limestone and a bronze adornment on the front of the arch. It was commissioned to commemorate the four battalions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers that served in the Second Boer war. It lists the principal battles and locations at which the fusiliers fought: Hart’s Hill, Ladysmith, Talana, Colenso, Tugela Heights, and Laing’s Nek. The names of 222 dead are inscribed on the underside of the arch.

James-Joyce-bust-w.jpgThe second subject is a bust sculpture of a famed Dubliner, James Joyce. He was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer’s Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles, most famously stream of consciousness. He also wrote the Dubliners which is a collection of fifteen short stories, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.

The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by converging ideas and influences. The stories centre on Joyce’s idea of an epiphany: a moment when a character experiences a life-changing self-understanding or illumination. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists. Subsequent stories deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This aligns with Joyce’s tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity. [provided by Wikipedia]


Now, the park is adjacent to one of Dublin’s main shopping streets, Grafton Street. I thought it would be nice to sketch a busy street of shoppers. There is a shop called ‘Butlers Chocolate Café‘, Specialist chocolatier and coffee chain, serving handmade sweets, pastries and sandwiches. I hope somebody would go in and then write to me about it. Hot chocolate would be nice.

Well, in my next post, I’ll be leaving Dublin and going south on the M9 freeway.


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THE FALLING OUT – Sea of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

It seemed that Cornelius had just closed his eyes to sleep when he was awakened by Cestus. The sky was still very dark.

“Sir! I am sorry to wake you, sir! But the follower, Simon, needs to speak to you. There seem to be some urgency, sir.”

Cornelius noted that Jacob and Trax were up rolling their blankets. “What is going on?” he asked.

Cestus gestured to where Simon and Matthew were standing. As he got up, Cestus started to roll his blanket as well, prompting him to surmise that something was up. Simon and Matthew approached him.

“The master has called us to leave this place as soon as possible!” Matthew said.

“Why? What has happened?”

It was Simon who answered, “He told Peter that, in the morning, the people will come to take him and declare him king. I am afraid that my former companions have been busy arousing the populace.”

“We must get Jesus away from here! If they force the crown on him, the governor will have no choice. He will be a hunted man.”

“He is already gone. According to Peter, he alone went up the mountain for solitude. Only Peter, John and James know to which his direction went. He commanded that we must be away from here before the morning. He also felt that you should go as well. We will guide you down to the beach by another path away from the multitudes.”

Simon led the way. Fortunately, the moon was out and bright enough for them not to use torches. He led them down a fairly steep ravine that eventually reached the beach about two miles from where they originally landed. Cornelius thought that they were going to work their way back to the boats, when to his surprise, he noticed that there were two boats already waiting for them. As he came closer, he saw that one of the boats was his. Peter approached them.

“Greetings again, Cornelius!”

“How is it that you were able to convince my men to bring my boat here?” Cornelius had to ask, for his men would not have taken orders from anyone else.

Cestus, who went ahead to the boat, called back, “I found them, sir! They were both trussed up and gagged!”

Cornelius faced Peter questioningly.

“Forgive me, Cornelius?” Peter sheepishly explained, “We reasoned that your men would not listen to reason. So, we silently jumped them.” Rubbing his sore jaw, he continued, “Please do not reprimand them. Your men did put up a good fight. It took all ten of us to disarm and tie them up.”

Andrew came up leading two women. Cornelius noted that his left eye had some bruising around it.

“No harm done and the boats are here,” though he may have to talk to his men, to reassure them that no honor is lost and so that they will not act out on their own.


The story continues on in my next post.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

If you want to support my writing, you can donate by clicking below…


Thank you

Johann Q

Sketching from the Neck Up #16

Wagons, Ho!


When I did this drawing of a very old covered wagon (minus the cover), I was reminded of an old TV western series called “Wagon Train” (1957-1965). Anybody remember that black & white series? Well, I was watching it back in the 1960s. Phew, I am old! I used to fantasize going on a wagon train fighting ‘renegade injuns’ and outlaws. What is funny is that in every episode, the lead characters, the gritty eyed John McIntire and Robert Fuller would drive a long train of covered wagons from Missouri to California. Imagine that! Every 48 minute episode, our trail blazing heroes would lead an intrepid group of pioneers through grassy plains, deserts, and then over the Rocky Mountains. In reality, a wagon drawn by either 2 horses or oxens filled with all their earthly belongings and supplies can travel about a mile per hour. Keep in mind that family members usually walked, not ride most of the time. So, a wagon train of about a hundred would take 5-8 months for them to traverse 5 states.

Believe it or not, I actually found a number of episodes in Youtube. Of course, my drawing is probably one of those wagons that didn’t make it to the west. Like I said before, I like drawing this kind of stuffs. The photo was a little pixelated but I played with it on Photoshop and brought the clarity up enough for me to sketch it out.

Well, as the wagon train leader would say to get going, “Wagons, ho!”


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Sketching from the Neck Up #15

Bled… Bled… Bled…


Have you ever watched the animated movie, Hotel Transylvania, starring the voice of Adam Sadler as Dracula? Do you recall how humans would tease Dracula on how he talked? “I’m Count Dracula… Bled… Bled… Bled.” Well, okay… it’s actually ‘blah, blah, blah.’ But I really needed a lead off. You see, my next sketch subject is a very old church built on an island on Lake Bled. It’s a pristine lake in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of northwestern Slovenia near the border of the Austrian Alps.

The Church of the Assumption of Maria has a 171 ft tower and leading up to it from the shoreline is a Baroque stairway dating from 1655 with 99 stone steps.

The Photoshop I always use is the old 7.0 version. The tools are not as fancy as newer versions but I make do. For this project, I played more around with the smudge tool especially when I worked on the reflection.


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Sketching from the Neck Up #14

Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso

(Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso)


According to Wikipedia the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is a Roman Catholic monastery located in the municipality of Leggiuno, in the Province of Varese and the region of Lombardy, Italy. It is perched on a rocky ridge on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore.

The monastery can be reached on foot by descending down a long winding stairway or by taking an elevator or by a number of ferry services or boats that dock at the pier.

The construction of the monastery dates from the 14th century, although the more recent frescos are from the 19th century. It consists of three buildings: the southern convent, the convent and the main church. In 1914 it was declared a national monument.

Check out the Google Earth or Google Map coordinates: 45.877411°N, 8.596887°E


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